Amanda Castro Band
By Ashley Bennett
CITY OF ORIGIN: Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga.
KINDRED SPIRITS: “Cher, Louis Armstrong, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Harry Connick Jr., Buena Vista Social Club and music from the 1920s and 1930s.”
FREQUENTS: The Hip Kitty Jazz and Fondue.
Some people think jazz is for old fogies; Amanda Castro and Patrick Aranda certainly do not. Ever since they met casually at a gig they agreed that jazz has its place and shouldn’t be ignored as much as it has been since the ’40s. Soon enough the band’s music evolved into various types of jazz, from Latin to New Orleans styles. There is even a jazz infused Cher arrangement floating around. Simply showing up isn’t all you can do; check out their kickstarter and get their upcoming October album release. Even $1 will earn you a fantastic image of the band’s drummer wearing Cher’s “Turn Back Time” outfit.
Describe what a typical show is like for the band.
Amanda: We take vintage jazz from the ’20s and ’30s and freshen up the arrangements, making it distinctly our own sound. An Amanda Castro Band show is a high energy entertainment experience. We aren’t your typical background dinner jazz group.
Patrick: We like knowing that our audiences are having a great time. We always try to have a party atmosphere. Our sound is like if Louis Armstrong, Tito Puente, Rosemary Clooney and Cher had one big baby together.
Castro o: We are trying to target all ages for our music and take it more mainstream. Also, the show focuses a lot on Patrick’s and my own interaction. We’re like the Sonny and Cher of jazz.
How is the jazz scene in the IE?
Aranda: Jazz is a tough scene to make it in, but there is definitely an audience for it.
Castro: I think our music is different and fun enough to cross over I have met a lot of people that aren’t particularly into jazz, but we’ve adapted it to a point where there is a little bit for everyone.
What’s the coolest/strangest/most memorable show you’ve ever played?
Castro: Probably performing at the Claremont outside Summer series. I love that we have to attract our audience with only our music. We always get huge crowds forming around us to watch us play.
Aranda: I loved it when we played at The Hip Kitty and we lead a conga line on the dance floor with our New Orleans music. Everyone was parading up and down waving handkerchiefs.
Amanda Castro Band at the Hip Kitty Jazz And Fondue, 502 W. First St., Claremont, (909) 447-6700; www.hipkittyjazz.com. Thurs, Oct. 11. 8pm-midnight. Check out and support the band’s Kickstarter campaign at www.kickstarter.com.